Gang of nine who beat autistic teenager so badly she was off school for 10 months escape without ANY punishment

16 Dec

From the Mail Online: [warning, graphic photograph] Gang of nine who beat autistic teenager so badly she was off school for 10 months escape without ANY punishment

Here is the first paragraph:

Sophie Russell, 16, was punched about 20 times in the face
Four girls and five boys let off and police handed just one of the mob a caution

A gang of nine yobs who beat an autistic teenager, punching her about 20 times in the face and forcing her to take 10 months off school to recover, have escaped punishment.

Sophie Russell, 16, was attacked by the teenage yobs who left her seriously injured with a broken nose and shattered face at her school in February.

But the gang of four girls and five boys were let off after police only handed one of the mob with a caution.

More details, including a photo, are available on the link above.

If, however, you are looking for a good explanation why these youth did not face any charges, you won’t find them there. If you can provide a good explanation I’d appreciate hearing it.

13 Responses to “Gang of nine who beat autistic teenager so badly she was off school for 10 months escape without ANY punishment”

  1. Science Mom December 16, 2011 at 00:46 #

    Why did I click on that link? Sophie is an amazing young woman and I’m going to try and focus on that.

    • Sullivan December 16, 2011 at 00:49 #

      Sorry about that. I’ve added a warning.

  2. Science Mom December 16, 2011 at 01:41 #

    Oh please don’t apologise; you stated there was a photo in the link. I am just so outraged and disgusted how the legal and medical systems failed her. Not to mention the senseless brutal beating she endured.

  3. Kassiane December 16, 2011 at 06:27 #

    They got away with it because of the prevailing narrative that autistic people aren’t real people, we destroy lives, we drive people to hurt/kill us with our strange alien autistic ways. No crime against an autistic person is EVER treated the way the same crime against a non-autistic person is.

    And there are not WORDS for how angry I am at pretty much every adult in that situation, from the pathetic excuses for peace officers to the parents of the monsters who did this. Wrath. Wrath. Wrath.

  4. daedalus2u December 16, 2011 at 16:44 #

    I agree with Kassianne, this is how (some) NTs feel that autistic people should be treated. Some NTs can cognitively appreciate that those feelings are inappropriate, some cannot.

    I think that this particular age group is especially vulnerable to being victims and perpetrators because their “theory of mine” (discussed in the above link) is not fully fixed yet and so there is a compulsion to try and “fix” everyone else’s “theory of mind” in a way that is advantageous to you. Bullying is one way to do that.

    The way to stop it is for the adults to not tolerate it. I completely agree with Kassianne that it is the adults who are responsible.

  5. daedalus2u December 16, 2011 at 16:54 #

    Kassiane, sorry I misspelled your name. I looked at it a couple of times to try and get it right, but I must have been seeing double or something.

  6. clubduvet December 16, 2011 at 21:17 #

    It’s when things like this happen that I can only shake my head and think how suddenly, I’m not the slightest bit proud to be British……..Disgusting.

  7. McD December 21, 2011 at 06:11 #


    There is not any indication she was beaten for being AS though. These sort of yobs are usually equal opportunity bullies.

    My 9yo older son has had a few run-ins with a local 11yo bully, apparently because he is a ginger, serious enough for us to call the police and make a formal complaint. One family conference later the bully was undeterred. I arranged for the lad to be shadowed home from school by my nephew on a bike (my boy was on his scooter). Sure enough, the bully turned up on his scooter and made for my son. At which point my nephew stepped on to the pavement and my son introduced the bully to his huge Maori cousin (18 and just finished Army basic training). He has not had any trouble since.

    I wish I knew the answer to bullying. I was bullied awfully, mainly because i was different. I will absolutely not let my son go through what I went through. We reported the situation to the police and respective schools, and put my boy in a worse situation. It is intensely frustrating that we have had to respond in kind to make my boy safe, but at least he is safe (my nephew would never touch a kid – he just looks scary)

  8. clubduvet December 21, 2011 at 19:34 #

    McD your absolutely right and this seems an inherent behavior in human nature as it happens all over the world and one has to wonder why some children and adults do it and others don’t.

    Sorry to hear of your son’s situation and how areas of society you turn to for help and protection yet again let someone down. But glad it appears to be over, but as you say, fighting fire with fire is NOT the answer.

    However whilst you are correct in the fact that that the article doesn’t state it happened because she was AS, it also doesn’t say it wasn’t and from experience we know bullies tend to pick on those that appear ‘weaker or different’ and who appears more different to the ‘bully mindset’ than someone with say AS or ginger hair…???

  9. McD December 22, 2011 at 07:37 #

    @clubduvet I do agree, I am sure myself and many others on the spectrum are bullied because they are different, or because they are a soft target. I think in many cases they lack the social skills to form an alliance with other kids which guarantees protection.

    Jared Diamond’s earlier work with primates looked at differences in the status of females between species. Bonobo females had high status, and were a matriarchal species, apparently because the females were able to form alliances against the stronger males. In other primate species, females do not usually form such alliances, allowing individuals (larger, stronger, males) to dominate society.

    Extending this to the modern playground, kids who have difficulty forming social alliances are left without protection from bullies – if the bullies are not kept in check by other means. Those are our kids.

    I don’t think these bullies would target autistic kids deliberately. They just go for defenceless kids. I suspect the attacking kids were very young – the media do not specify their age other than ‘teenagers’. Kassiane has a point about the adults in this situation, but it is not clear they knew the victim was AS or that it was taken into consideration (it should not have been relevant). Treatment of any person like this should not be tolerated. But if the attackers were 11 or 12, (like my son’s bully) there is not much that can be done through the legal system.

    The lack of information about the age of the attacking kids makes me think it is a bit of a media wind up of a situation where there is plenty of potential for outrage.

  10. clubduvet December 22, 2011 at 22:26 #

    @McD I fully agree with your synopsis of the playground and like you, I am sure these kids didn’t head out thinking ‘let’s go bully someone who is AS’. The media (as per usual) may be milking the Autism angle for what it’s worth.
    I do however find it difficult to believe they were not aware that the child was ‘different’ lets say (assuming Autism is not in their vocabulary).

    This doesn’t however detract from the fact that, as you say, treatment of any person in this manner should not be tolerated and the lack of punishment/penalty sets a poor example for the children concerned and others alike.

    The saddest part is that if these bullies are already 11 or 12, (or older) then without the appropriate social correction, surely they may well grow up to become adults with the same issues and perhaps eventually create their own children with the same behavior…………sigh.

  11. I’ll be grateful if you continue this in future. Numerous people will be benefited from your writing.

  12. angelica October 8, 2014 at 03:43 #

    why do humans need to treat autism so badly? if it is because they wish to be cool and popular, it is not. 😡

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